Thursday, July 31, 2014

Apple Roasted Chicken {The Best of Both Worlds}


Apples are pretty common in savory dishes here in southern Belgium. They are sometimes served alongside a meal as a side dish {take the traditional hunter meatballs, fries, salad and applesauce for example} or sometimes they are integrated into the meal {such as with the yummy bacon and apple salad served on a bed of endive lettuce}.

It took me a while to get used to this way of eating apples {I'm not a huge fan of sweet with my meat} but now I can't get enough of any dish that boasts apples.

This chicken is my take on another Belgian favorite: grilled chicken thighs, applesauce, fries and salad. It requires a lot less hands-on work though, and turns out delicious every time! The apple not only cooks into a perfectly textured baked apple, it also releases steam during baking that keeps the whole chicken super juicy, all while adding a slight hint of flavor to the meat. The sage really is just the gravy on this chicken, adding to the amazingness. Want actual gravy? Simply blend together the onions and chicken drippings using your immersion blender and pour that sauce over everything!

Serve this with your favorite roasted root veggie and a simple green salad for the ultimate Belgian experience - you'll be happy you did!


Apple Roasted Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken, emptied
  • 1 whole apple, washed
  • 3 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Cinnamon (optional)
Method:
  1. Spread the onions out in a single layer in the bottom of an oven safe baking dish.
  2. Pierce the apple 3-4 times with a fork and place inside the chickens' cavity, along with the sage.
  3. Place the chicken on the onions, then season generously on all sides using salt and pepper.
  4. Bake at 200°C {400°F} for 45 minutes. Baste chicken with its juices. Bake for another 45 minutes, or until juices run clear.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and place entire chicken on a cutting board. 
  6. Allow the chicken to cool slightly before gently removing the apple. Cut the apple into eighths, placing two slices on each plate and sprinkling them with cinnamon.
  7. Carve chicken and serve alongside the apple slices.
  8. If desired, blend the onions with the chicken drippings and drizzle sauce over chicken.
  9. Serve with roasted root veggies and a green salad.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taco Seasoning {AIP, Whole30}


I wanted loaded nachos the other day. I happen to be in the middle of an AIP Whole30 "cleanse" as well, so these nachos needed to be compliant to both those regimes... the hardest part would be the meat seasonings...

A huge part of Mexican food (even fake American remakes such the loaded nachos I was craving...) revolves around nightshades: tomatoes, peppers, cumin... This AIP+nacho thing was going to be harder than I though...

I searched all over the Internet for an AIP compliant seasoning mix. There weren't any to be found. There were many nightshade-free mixes to choose from, but what about those on the AIP diet? Or those who can't have nightshades or seeds?

I took my nose into the kitchen, along with a list of AIP friendly foods, and got to work.


I mixed and smelled until it smelled right. Then I blitzed everything together in my blender to create a powdered spice mix. Then I made taco meat with it. You know what? It's delicious. It's even hubster approved - which is a very rare thing indeed!

You might want to double or triple this recipe to make even more. It's always nice to have ready-made spice mixes on hand. Mix some up today - and check out my loaded nachos recipe if you're into that sort of thing as well!

AIP Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:
  • 4 tbsp minced dried onion
  • 1 tbsp dried garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Himalaya salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp powdered cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Method:
  1. Mix everything together well. If desired, blend into a powder using a high-powered blender.
  2. Store in an air-tight container and use as you would use traditional taco seasoning.

AIP Guacamole {my other recipe has mustard}

The common theme of today's post is nachos. But there are certain things required for delicious nachos, such as cheese, chips, veggies, spices, meat... and guacamole.

My tried-and-true, love-it-so-much recipe has mustard in it, so that was a no-go since I am doing an AIP Whole30 for the moment... I would have turned to Nom Nom Paleo's guacamole, but I didn't have shallots or lime.

So I improvised.



It ended up being insanely delicious and the hubster loudly proclaimed that he just loved guacamole - which I think means it's also hubster approved!

{I have to say though, he was in a rather good mood that evening. He even "invented" a little song and dance to "go with the green onions", which he sang and danced while waiting for his Loaded Nachos to cook. If you're curious, the only words to that song were "les petits oignons..." repeated over and over again, as he pranced around, moving his hands ever so slightly as if he was jumping rope... You have to realize, he weighs in at just under 100 kilos of mostly muscle and he doesn't usually "dance". This was quite the sight to see, and should, if anything, tell you this meal was damn good.}

Feel free to double the recipe if you're feeding a crowd, or just to have some on hand for a couple days in the fridge. It's delicious on everything!

AIP Guacamole

Ingredients:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Mix everything together and enjoy!

Cauli-Carrot Nacho Cheese {AIP Whole30}

So, in case you hadn't noticed, Hayley Ziegler has taken the IG community by storm with her #zucchinicheese. Everyone is busy whipping up batches of the creamy good stuff, adding their own special touch each time.




When I saw Martine Partridge make cheese covered broccoli with her own unique take on the faux-cheese, I knew exactly what I needed to make for myself: loaded nachos

The Paleo Partridge || Cauli-Cheese Sauce (Paleo, AIP)

Since I am the only paleo blogger who doesn't have a box of gelatin on hand, my version relies on agar agar powder as its thickening agent. Sadly, this vegan version does not melt. Happily, it's creamy and delicious and fills my dairy-free void perfectly!

Whip up a batch of this liquid "chz" and throw together some loaded nachos for yourself!



Cauli-Carrot Nacho Cheese
Original Recipe: Hayley Ziegler's Zucchini Cheese 

Original Idea: Martine Partridge's Cauli-Cheese Sauce


Ingredients:
  • 125 grams cauliflower, chopped
  • 100 grams carrots, diced fairly small
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
Method:
  1. Dissolve the agar agar powder into the water in a small sauce pan.
  2. Add the diced carrots, then the cauliflower, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat slightly and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
  3. Blend the water and veggies together using an immersion blender.
  4. Add the coconut oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, and pepper, then blend again.
  5. Use immediately for best results.
This sauce can be stored in the fridge and reheated for later use, but it will be quite lumpy done this way. If you absolutely must reheat it and want it smooth, blending it again with your immersion blender will solve the problem and give you the creamy-smooth texture from before.

And just for laughs:

This used to be true - but not any more! Now cheese is a lump of veggies! Yay for paleo!

Loaded Nacho Salad {AIP & Whole30}

So the other day I got a hankering for what the hubster and I call nachos. Pre-paleo, would would line baking dishes with corn chips, then layer on seasoned ground beef, crisp iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes and bell peppers, spread on salsa, guacamole and sour cream and then sprinkle on grated cheddar cheese. We'd throw the whole thing in the oven until the cheese was ooey-gooey melty, and then we'd dig in. It was divine!

The hubster still eats his nachos like that, and though mine have been paleo-adapted, they are still utterly delicious!

Then I got this crazy idea to give AIP a try {by the way, I'm loving it!}. This is a major game changer when it comes to loaded nachos though - no nightshades! This means no chopped tomatoes and no salsa, plus I needed a nightshade-free guacamole... and spice mix! Yikes!

I searched high and low online... and found nothing. I hit the kitchen anyway, determined to have my nachos all while remaining AIP Whole30 compliant... and I succeeded!



You'll need to follow the links in the ingredient list below to check out each corresponding recipe needed to make these scrumptious nachos. Made this way, they are gluten free, dairy free, legume free, nut free, seed free, nightshade free, soy free, coconut free, grain free... did I forget anything? 

Oh, and you could totally leave out the ground meat if you were making this for a vegetarian or vegan friend - the cheese is vegan!

This is one of those fun, hands-on meals that are great to do with friends or little ones: everyone gets to assemble their own plate and add exactly what they want to the mix! Have fun!

Loaded Nacho Salad (AIP, Whole30)
serves about 2

Ingredients for meat:
Ingredients for nachos:
Method:
  1. Add ground beef and diced onion to a frying pan over medium heat. Cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
  2. Add the taco seasoning and bone broth, stir to combine and reduce to low allowing the bone broth to evaporate.
  3. Assemble your nachos as desired using the meat, lettuce, olives, onion, cheese and guacamole. Serve with plantain chips and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Food Prep {ground meat}

A key part of following a real-food diet is food prep. Always having healthy, good-for you, and tasty food on hand is essential to avoid eating junk food.

Whether it's for a fast breakfast because you're running late, a quick lunch between meetings or a late dinner after a long day you didn't plan for, having ready-to-go food in the fridge will save you time, money and a stomach ache later on!

On of my favorite things to prep is ground meat.

The meat can be beef, lamb, pork, or chicken - or any combination of the four! This already-browned-protein can be added to baked dishes, sprinkled on veggie noodles, served in lettuce cups, stirred into soups... the possibilities are endless!

My favorite way to prep ground meat is super simple, giving it just enough flavor to be eaten as is, but not too much so you can change it up during the week with other sauces and spices.

  • Step 1: Brown about a pound of ground meat (500 grams) in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Step 2: When meat is cooked through, add 1 tbsp of your favorite spice mix, a bit of sea salt and 1/2 cup of homemade bone broth.
  • Step 3: Increase heat to med-high and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Step 4: Use immediately or store covered in the fridge for up to one week.

My favorite spice mixes to use are my All-Purpose Spice Mix, my Italian Seasoning, my Gyros Meat spices, and the Cavegirl Rib Rub. Feel free to substitute your favorite mix.

When reheating this, simply add a splash of homemade bone broth or your favorite sauce to add a bit of moisture, then use as desired. And enjoy the ease of using prepped ground meat throughout the week!

Need some ideas? Check out this great post by Nerd Fitness for ways to use ground beef throughout the week!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

AIP Whole30 Check-In {Week 1}

Well, today is day 7 of my AIP Whole30. The goal I set for myself at the start of this "reset" was to learn even more about AIP and to read everything I could get my Internet hands on. I did just that and was really fascinated by all I read. The way our bodied function is really amazing and it's crazy to think about how much is affected by our food choices.

By far, the most informative website I found was The Paleo Mom. There is even an entire section devoted to Autoimmunity, which I highly recommend to anyone who is curious to learn more about AIP Paleo.

So, goal achieved - but how am I feeling?

As a reminder, I am committing to 30 days of AIP Whole30 Paleo, plus the reintroduction period, in an effort to clear up a few lingering problems I have been experiencing, notably gas {flatulence and eructation}, IBS {Irritable Bowel Syndrome} and insomnia.


First, I'm sleeping much better and finally waking up refreshed once again! I set my alarm for the same hour each and every day, but for the last couple of days I have been waking up before my alarm goes off. Before, I used to wake up every single night when the hubster would come to bed, but that's happening less and less often. I'm also falling asleep faster which is a major plus!

My IBS has improved drastically! This may be a bit TMI, but I have been having normal bowel movements since day two! Something I as eating was really messing my with digestion down there, and boy am I ever happy to have removed it from my diet! Now, I just have to pinpoint what it was during the reintroduction phase...

Lastly, the gas. I hardly ever eructate anymore. I used to burp after every meal, and between each meal as well. To give you a bit TMI again, they would sometimes be pretty acidic, or even have a taste {either of the meal I just ate, or of bile}. It wasn't usually noticeable to others, but it was bothersome to me {and not to mention pretty disgusting}.

As for the flatulence, it has diminished, but is still present. To venture once again into the realm of TMI, they used to be really smelly before - each and every time. And oftentimes, they were loud. Now, they are mostly discrete and usually odorless. This remains bothersome nonetheless, so I have decided to reduce the amount of fruit I eat, just in case that's the cause.

Edited to add: After a discussion with the hubster, I have also decided to give up bacon. Bacon has been my one exception to eating clean - the only bacon I have yet found here in Belgium is full of nasties, but I always figured that it wouldn't make that big of a difference since 100% of the rest of my food was squeaky clean. Hmm... after a fruit-free breakfast, I was still gassy... was it the bacon? We'll see...

So, my goals for week two are:

Eat smaller portions of fruit.
Eat a larger variety of veggies.
Edited to add: No more bacon {unless I find a clean one}.



Is anyone else doing a Whole30, AIP or not? How are things going so far? Remember, you can follow along with my AIP Whole30 meals by watching the hashtag #Whole30andThriving. Be sure to tag your own Whole30 compliant meals with that tag as well so I can find them!